Wednesday, March 4, 2015

The One With My Parents #sol15

Every Tuesday, I participate in the Slice of Life challenge at Two Writing Teachers. Every March, the Slice of Life Challenge is a month-long experience where Slicers post every single day for the entire month. I'm joining in on the monthly challenge this year! For more information on what a Slice of Life post is about, you can go here.

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In my introduction post, I mentioned my parents. I wouldn't be who I am today if not for them and their support. They're pretty awesome in their own ways - and I'll write about them separately soon - but together they're amazing. 

This year they'll celebrate their 40th wedding anniversary. It brings tears to my eyes to write that. I had to count on my fingers and double-check with my husband and it's right. Forty years. That's a long time to do anything let alone with another person. I'm happy to have them as role models and love them both so much.
Here's their story to the best of my knowledge. My mom was born in Guatemala, she grew up there and moved to the United States when she was twenty-one. Her family was still in Guatemala but she did have one aunt who was here in the U.S. After graduating from bilingual secretary school, my mom came to the United States to practice her English. She went to Lake Forest High School at night to learn more English and in the meantime, babysat for a couple different families, living with them in Lake Forest and taking care of their kids.

My dad was born in southern Wisconsin but grew up in a small, farming town in north-western Illinois. After high school, he joined the Air Force and served in the Vietnam War. When he came back from Vietnam, he traveled and did odd jobs around the country, until he found himself in Lake Forest as a "protective coating specialist" (or painter) for the family my mom happened to be working for. 
The way my mom tells it, my dad was persistent and eventually she went out with him. On their first date, her aunt was their chaperone and he picked them up in a fancy car he rented - although she wouldn't find that out until he stopped for gas and she peeked in the glove compartment and saw the paperwork! When she tells this story, my dad laughs and listens and offers playful commentary. 

They only dated for six months before my dad proposed on a park bench looking over Lake Michigan. They got married in Guatemala, surrounded by her family, and then traveled the country making the most of what little money they had, full of love and open to adventure. It's fun to listen to them remember where they went, who they were with, and the crazy things they did on their Honeymoon, young and carefree. 

Afterwards, back in the United States, they lived in the town I live in now until moving to Lake Forest when I was two. There, they rented an apartment, two bedrooms, one bathroom, a tiny space when I visit it now. We lived there until I was in high school when we moved to a house just next door with a bit more room. We stayed there until I was out of college and my sister finished high school. 

I'm so lucky to have my parents. Then and now, they've always loved me unconditionally and believed in me wholeheartedly. I have them to thank for my determination and my strong will, my love of learning - which totally includes my love of books - and probably most importantly, my compassion. 

To read my previous Slice of Life posts, click on any link below:

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